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. >>> pope benedict xvi shocked the catholic opportunity with a resignation. the pope said he no longer has the strength to do his job and will step down at the end of the month. it is the first paper resignation in 600 years. as for a replacement, right now, there is no clear front runner. >> who among this body has the qualifications, the characteristics, the spiritual gifts to fill that chair? >> the vatican hopes to have a new pope in place by easter. as for pope benedict, he will move into a monostair where he will dedicate the remainder of his life to prayer. pope benedict acknowledged and apologized for the catholic church's priest abuse scandal. but some people, including david lorenze, think more needs to be done. >> i was something. >> at 16. >> by an adult priest. this thing is going to haunt them from now, for another thousand years until they stand up and address it and come clean. >> others say they stand behind and support pope benedict. >> same-sex partners will soon have access to the exact same benefits offered to their heterosexual counterparts. leon panetta signed
is a noted scholar. he says 15 days after benedict leaves office and heads to a monestary, cardinals will gather and vote for his replacement. >> well, actually, it's a wonderful thing that we have in the code of church law and that says any promise the pope makes to get elected, he does not have to follow. >> and what might american catholics expect of the next pope who should be on the job before easter sunday? >> we're not going to see radical change coming from these people, because they did exactly what you and i would do if we were pope. they appointed people that would agree with them on the base k issues facing the church. >> tomorrow, ash wednesday, beginning of lent. the catholic church is growing faster in latin america. and there is a chance the next pope could come from there, but not likely. he points to europe. that's where the church has his biggest problems and the cardinals from italy, they have the most votes. >> an american pope, probably not in our lifetime. >> topper has your weather >>> i'm topper shutt. here's a live look outside. a gorgeous day, 59 was
. >>> vatican officials confirm pope benedict fell and hit his head during a trip to mexico last year and insist the fall played no role in the pontiff's decision to step down. today the pope met with priests in rome telling them he will remain hidden from the world after retirement. he plans to dedicate himself to prayer living in an old monastery inside the vatican's walls. >>> his courageous story and electrifying performance at the summer olympics inspired people around the world, but tonight south african police say they will charge the man known as blade runner with the murder of his girl friend. police will not confirm reports that oscar pistorius mistook his girl friend for a burglary. that girl friend reeva steenkamp was a model and reality show contestant. pistorius was the first ever double amputee to participate in the olympics. >>> coming up at 7:00 we'll introduce you to an organization that helps struggling families stay on their feet at 7:00 on wusa9. >> still ahead this half hour some lucky couples tie the knot this valentine's day. plus -- ♪[ music ] >> beautification through
benedict the 16th delivered his final public mass. catholics packed st. peter's pa silica to get one last look at the -- basilica to get one last look at the retiring pontiff. thousands gave him a standing ovation at the end of today's services. >>> right now the st. george's episcopal church is offering ashes at the virginia square metro plaza in arlington as part of the church's ashes to go program. church officials were out there this morning as well offering ashes to anyone who wanted them. >>> he is the young boy whose story has gripped the country. >> for six long days ethan kirkland was held hostage in an underground bunker. a short time ago right here on wusa9 ethan and his mom spoke with dr. phil. >> heard that he had been rescued, how did they tell you? what did they say? >> i was outside the church and they kept telling me to come on in, that they had something to tell us and they showed everybody else out. that's when they said that ethan had been recovered. i didn't know how to act. i mean it was the happiest moment of my entire life. >> ethan was talking about his bus driver
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